The Post's front-page article on the passing of candy maker Forrest Mars brings back poignant memories.

In 1942, with World War II in full swing, I was in the Food and Drug Administration charged with policing sanitation in the food industries. One of our problems concerned confectioneries, which were plagued by shortages of imported chocolate. One of my jobs was to see how some of the major companies were maintaining their sanitation standards, which brought me to the Mars plant in Chicago. What I saw has remained one of my better memories.

The Mars family ran the plant as a family kitchen. Huge as it was, the family presence was everywhere. From the sweepers and cleaners on up, everyone felt that he or she was working for Mr. Mars.

Production was first for the "boys overseas." No sales were made to U.S. civilians until the military shipments were filled. In an age when "everyone" was wrapping and boxing candy bars mechanically, Mr. Mars would not replace the ladies wrapping and boxing candies by hand. There were rooms filled with old hands who had grown up with the company, and Mr. Mars would not allow them to be turned out in favor of machines. They were replaced by machines as they retired or otherwise left the company, but they were never to be fired.

KENTON L. HARRIS

Bethesda